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Matt Hough

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Matt Hough
The first full movie musical has much to offer.



The Broadway Melody (1929)



Released: 06 Jun 1929
Rated: Passed
Runtime: 100 min




Director: Harry Beaumont
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance



Cast: Bessie Love, Anita Page, Charles King
Writer(s): Edmund Goulding, Norman Houston, James Gleason



Plot: A pair of sisters from the vaudeville circuit try to make it big time on Broadway, but matters of the heart complicate the attempt.



IMDB rating: 5.6
MetaScore: 66





Disc Information



Studio: MGM
Distributed By: Warner Archive
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC



Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA



Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated...

Continue reading...
 
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richbarrac1

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The film’s lyricist, and future MGM Musical Producer, Arthur Freed, is also in the opening scene watching his song being performed.
 

Joel Arndt

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Thanks for the excellent review Matt. I watched this last night and was blown away by what WBMPI was able to accomplish. It was like watching it for the first time and I found the film to be much more enjoyable. It was interesting that George mentioned in the podcast that they tried to replicate the look of two-color Technicolor for The Wedding of the Painted Doll sequence, but the results were disappointing, so they made the decision to stick with the extant B & W footage.
 

battlebeast

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Does anyone know of any Bessie Love, Anita Page, or Charles King interviews? There is one good Bessie Love interview on YT, and when I search up "Charles King" all I get is stuff on some old guy from England...
 

Matt Hough

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I've seen Anita Page interviews on YouTube, but I haven't looked recently. They may have been taken down. TCM did insert interviews with her that I've seen, but they weren't lengthy and just inserted between films on the channel about some topic or other that she would have knowledge about (Joan Crawford, silent movies, certain directors, etc.)
 

roxy1927

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There were a few Anita Page interviews on youtube. In early ones her mind is clear and alert(maybe with everyone's favorite interviewer Skip E.) Sadly in her last one beginning dementia is setting in.

Also there is an interview with Bessie Love as a classy older lady from a British show. I also read that before the Hollywood premiere(at Grauman's I think) she was dining with a friend. She was calm as if it were any other night. The friend was like aren't you excited and nervous. Love was of the attitude I have been through so much in this business for so many years it's just another movie to me. I read this decades ago in a book on musicals where Love is interviewed where it was something like that. The large book on Hollywood musicals is from the 70s and I bet a number of musical nuts here have it. I don't know what happened to my copy.

As Pauline Kael wrote when it opened this was the movie everyone went to see. Its popularity got it that Oscar.
 
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Matt Hough

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I read this decades ago in a book on musicals where Love is interviewed where it was something like that. The large book on Hollywood musicals is from the 70s and I bet a number of musical nuts here have it. I don't know what happened to my copy.
I suspect that book was Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance! Yes, that's a good interview with her. She said Marie Dressler chastised her for doing so many musicals after the success of The Broadway Melody, but, of course, under contract, most actors did what they were told.
 

John Skoda

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Just watched this today, and I agree it will never look better. The number that really surprised me was “Truthful Parson Brown.” Sure, there's no reason for it in the plot, but it comes across as some seriously good musicians sitting around, playing live, and performing for each other. Really grabbed my attention (as few of the other musical numbers did). Dancing in movies got a lot better after this one, didn't it?
 

Matt Hough

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Just watched this today, and I agree it will never look better. The number that really surprised me was “Truthful Parson Brown.” Sure, there's no reason for it in the plot, but it comes across as some seriously good musicians sitting around, playing live, and performing for each other. Really grabbed my attention (as few of the other musical numbers did). Dancing in movies got a lot better after this one, didn't it?
When movie dance directors began choreographing for the screen rather than for the proscenium, dancing in movies got a lot better!
 

John Skoda

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That's really true, come to think of it. If you film a chorus line from the front, all you see is mistakes where dancers are out of sync with each other. But if you film from another angle, you don't notice that so much. Heck, a lot of Busby Berkeley shots have dancers faces going by and you're not even seeing what their feet are doing at all.
 

roxy1927

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As few as the other musical numbers did.

The musical numbers in this film are jewels. There aren't many but they are gold. Well except for the audition number.
 

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